Kindy kids’ bird haven
3 February 2020

Kindy kids’ bird haven

For the past few years, kids at Morphett Vale East Kindergarten have been visited by a pair of wood ducks and their annual brood of 15 chicks.

Not to mention the magpies that wander over for a chat each morning during toast time.

The friendly visitors have contributed to the kids’ love of birdwatching – fostered by a bird identification book and a popular pair of binoculars – and they sparked an idea to transform an underutilised garden near the kindy’s entrance.

Last year, that idea came to life thanks to a City of Onkaparinga Environment Grant.

“We wanted it to be a welcoming space and a sensory area where we could take the kids out for a look, but also be a space for the birds when we’re not there,” explains kindergarten Director, Sarah Weightman.

“The plants along the fence will help create a bit of a screen, helping with the supervision of children and making sure it’s a safe space.”

Another key aim was to connect the habitat of the adjoining Christie Creek with the garden, creating a home for butterflies and native bird species, which can struggle to compete for limited resources in the face of climate change and a lack of biodiversity.

The $700 grant helped the kindergarten buy and plant local native plants, install a watering system and landscape the garden with mulch.

It also received invaluable support from Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board – NRM Education team, students and staff from neighbouring Morphett Vale East School R-7, the kindy’s trusty gardener and local families, who provided advice, donated materials, and offered helping hands.

Sarah says more work is planned in stages, including Aboriginal-themed artwork and more plantings, but staff and kids are “really happy” with the current transformation.

“Getting that grant has been amazing and we’re really grateful,” Sarah says.

“Because we get a different cohort of children each year, we’ll be able to continue the education.

“Having seedlings in the ground helps educates the kids about being aware of their feet and looking after the environment.

“We get lots of siblings coming through, so when the older kids come back they can say – hey, I remember when we did that!”

Environment Grants are just one of the categories offered through City of Onkaparinga’s Grants and Sponsorship Program, which offers a wide range of funding opportunities to help stage projects, festivals and events that benefit our communities.

Many of the categories have just opened for applications, closing on Tuesday 10 March (grants for small businesses reopen 2 March).

Free grant writing and grant application refining workshops are available in February, and an online Onkaparinga Funding Finder is also available to help you find other non-council grant opportunities on offer.

Sarah says it pays to take time with researching and writing your application.

“You need to be clear about what it is you want, and to make sure you’re working as a team so everyone’s vision is included,” she says.

“Do your research, and utilise any resources available, such as the council’s, your NRM Education rep, or local schools and preschools that might’ve done something similar.

“You also need to think about what the project is about long-term, rather than just a short-term thing you throw together and then move on.

“What is it bringing to the community?”

For the Morphett Vale East Kindergarten bird haven, the long-term benefits are clear.

The project means safe, engaged and educated kids; an attractive space for families and residents using the footpaths and walking trails alongside it; and a habitat teeming with native birds and butterflies.

Bird haven

Scenes from Morphett Vale East Kindergarten

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